Frequently Asked Questions

For clarification or more information on any of the FAQs, call (845) 895-2501, or 255-2035, or 866-999-1799, or 562-2219 (depending on your local exchange) or if you would rather have us call you, e-mail us and leave your name, phone number, e-mail address and a short message.

Frequently asked questions about septic tanks:

Q: What exactly is a septic tank?

JSA: The septic tank is a large container usually buried near the home that receives all of the waste water. Solids settle to the bottom and grease and lighter solids float on the top. Healthy bacteria continually break down these materials and allow effluent water to leave the tank to be dispersed through the leach field. If the water has sludge present, the system is in shut down mode, (failure).

Q: Where is my septic tank located?

JSA: The septic tank is usually buried near your house and connected by a sewer pipe to your indoor plumbing. You can find the pipe in the basement, usually 3 to 4 inches in diameter, very carefully remove the end cap and determine the direction of the pipe that leads out to your yard. You can use a flashlight to look through the pipe and a tape to measure the distance to the tank. With this information, you can estimate the location of the tank and then probe carefully with a shovel or iron digging rod to locate the four corners of the septic tank lid and its probable depth.

Q: Are all septic tanks the same size?

JSA: No. Septic tanks are sold in a number of sizes for various applications. If you do not have accurate building or installation records, the tank needs to be uncovered and measured to be sure of its size. Or, your knowledgeable pumping contractor can give you a good estimate.

Q: Are all septic tanks made of the same material?

JSA: No. Septic tanks can be made of steel, concrete, or special long-lasting polymer plastic. Steel has no guarantee and deteriorates over time from wastewater, salts and acids, concrete usually has only a one-year maximum factory guarantee and also deteriorates over time from wastewater, salts and acids. The newer polymer septic tanks are guaranteed for many years and are not subject to the deterioration effects of wastewater, salts or acids. Always select the system that gets you the manufacturer’s guarantee that will last the longest when properly installed.

Q: Do septic tanks last forever?

JSA: No. Deterioration of both the steel and concrete type of septic tank begins immediately. Polymer tanks last the longest and without physical abuse should serve you well for many, many years. Concrete is porous and cracks by nature. Salts and chemicals are the major factors in deterioration of concrete and metal tanks.

Q: What should go into my septic tank?

JSA: The best situation for a long, happy septic tank life would be that only human wastewater enters the tank. This includes bathroom sink waste and proper toilet tissue. This however, is seldom the case. People often put anything and everything down sinks, drains and toilets. In moderation, a properly working septic tank can handle some biodegradable detergents, laundry soaps, kitchen wastes and biodegradable household chemicals. In large amounts, any and all of these things can limit the digestive properties of your septic tank. A good rule of thumb: “If you didn’t, couldn’t, wouldn’t eat it, don’t put it in the septic tank!”

Q: What should not go in to my septic tank?

JSA: Things like cigarette butts, disposable diapers, sanitary napkins, plastics, any other trash, or high levels of cleaning agents or chemicals create problems for your septic tank. Some things kill the good bacteria the septic tank needs to break down human waste. Other items do not readily decompose and more importantly, may clog the baffles and prevent proper fluid flow inside the septic tank. Basically, non-biodegradable products are non-septic products.

Q: How can you tell if my septic tank is working?

JSA: Visual inspection of your backyard for standing waste water where the leach field should be, or unusual odors might indicate a problem. Otherwise, visual inspection of the septic tank is the first means of checking. Clarity of the effluent water leaving the outlet baffle is most important. Checking and measuring the depths of the sludge, liquid center and top scum level is also important. Checking the temperature and pH of the tank adds more information of the health of the septic tank. Risers on the ports of the lid allow for frequent inspection. Proper pH is a must. Take the reading inside the outlet baffle.

Q: How often should my septic tank be pumped?

JSA: Your septic tank should be pumped every two to three years OR when the total depth of sludge and scum exceeds one third of the depth of the tank. Pumping regularly is cost effective because it extends the life of your leach field which would be a major expense to repair or replace.

Q: Is there anything I should add to my septic tank?

JSA: Understanding the science of septic dictates what and how much of any additive should be used. New bio-solutions provide greater breakdown of human wastewater and can be formulated to deal with other products found in the septic system to produce a more environmentally safer effluent water to be discharged through your leach field. A reputable dealer trained in these new bio-solutions can offer you more information and provide a maintenance program for implementation.

Q: Should there be access to the top of my septic tank?

JSA: Yes. In order to inspect and maintain your septic tank, access to the inlet and outlet ports is a must. Risers and childproof access lids can easily be installed to ground level to provide for easy access.

Q: Can I build over my septic tank?

JSA: It is not recommended ever to build over the septic tank. Access to the tank is necessary for inspection and maintenance. Anything built over the tank would have to be removed for pumping and repairs. Additionally, the weight of anything built over a septic tank could damage the unit. The gasses that might escape are very harmful to people and in a worse case scenario could actually be explosive causing damage to the house and foundation.

Return to list of FAQs

Frequently asked questions about aerobic waste water treatment units:

Q: What is an aerobic waste water treatment unit?

JSA: An aerobic system allows for biological (oxygenated aerobic bacteria) to decompose organic waste. This method differs from the traditional septic tank which uses anerobic bacteria to breakdown the organic waste. The introduction of oxygen is then done through either a biological solution using bacteria and enzymes or with a mechanical system that pumps air in and agitates the mixture.

Q: Is the aerobic system better than a traditional septic tank?

JSA: The aerobic system breaks down the waste water materials much better than the traditional septic tank. The resulting effluent water discharge is far cleaner and better and safer for the environment.

Q: Does the aerobic system need more care than the traditional septic tank system?

JSA: Yes. The mechanical aerobic system has to meet State Health Department Laws, and must release a clean effluent, and requires regular maintenance to insure that it stays aerobic. That may mean testing effluent periodically, cleaning parts if necessary, insuring aerobic bacterial growth, checking parts if a mechanical aerobic unit is used, etc.

Q: What are the advantages of an aerobic wastewater treatment system?

JSA: Aerobic systems can be used in traditional receptive areas or in places where traditional septic systems have failed or are not appropriate for environmental concerns. For example, aerobic units can be used around lakes, streams, rocky areas and rivers where environmental concerns or local ordinances prohibit traditional septic systems.

Q: Can they be used to clean up lakes or streams where one-time bungalow type second homes have become year-round residences?

JSA: Yes. This may be the most needed and promising use of aerobic systems. The small summer-only minimal-use sized traditional septic systems cannot handle the needs for year-round use. They often fail and leach pollutants into the lake or stream that promote growth of vegetation that often chokes the water and because of high bacteria levels make it unsafe to use for recreation. Aerobic systems can solve this problem, end the pollution flow into the lakes or stream, and make the environment safe again for recreation.

Q: Is the aerobic system the only answer for the crowded population of fragile lake, stream or river areas?

JSA: No. Many lake associations or homeowner groups have thought about hooking into the local sewer district. In some cases this is not an available option. In other areas, the local municipal system does not want additional material because their system is already overtaxed. If hookup is available, the cost to the individual homeowner is very expensive for the initial connection and lines to the sewer district and a high monthly cost forever! The pollutants from one area are transferred to another area and added to all the other pollutants collected from other areas and forms a concentrated and dangerous problem for the environment. But there is another option. The aerobic system is owned by the individual homeowner. The homeowner can contract expert maintenance with reputable manufacturer trained and licensed dealers for their aerobic system. With a sewer hookup, the homeowner is at the mercy of the municipality for paying for everyone else’s problems. When the homeowner has an aerobic system they only pay for their own problem. Pollutants are easy to deal with in smaller volume and properly treated pose no threat to the environment.

Q: Are all aerobic units mechanical with pumps and filters that require electricity and maintenance?

JSA: Yes, but there is good news. There are many configurations of aerobic units and each offers advantages and disadvantages. The promising news is that new aerobic bacteria (bugs) can be added to an existing system to gain all of the positive effects of the mechanical units. Check out our Peace of Mind Septic Solution.

Return to list of FAQs

Frequently asked questions about leach fields:

Q: What exactly is a leach field?

JSA: A leach field is any method of leaking the discharge water from the septic tank into the ground. This discharge is from final stage (last outlet from the last septic tank, (sometimes there is more than one tank). In rare situations the effluent may be allowed to be discharged above the ground. The most common leach field is where trenches are dug in the ground in a branching pattern to allow the treated effluent water from the septic tank to be distributed and absorbed. Gravel or stone forms a bed in the trenches for the perforated pipes that connect to the septic tank via a distribution box. Again, this is the most common, but not necessarily the best way to leach the water. Cost and cost to the environment needs to be considered. Proper pretreatment of the wastewater benefits the environment and a long life for the leach field.

Q: Are all leach fields built the same way?

JSA: No. Depending on the percolation tests of the area for the leach field a determination is made on the best design for each specific area. Some leach fields are simple trench filled fields dug into the existing ground. Other leach fields are raised beds where proper drainage material is brought in and placed above the existing ground to allow both evaporation and absorption of effluent water.

Q: Where would I find my leach field?

JSA: If you do not have access to building plans or records of a septic dealer�s repair of the leach field you might have a difficult time guessing where the entire field is located. Sometimes the lay of the land helps identify where it is located. Other times it would take a measuring snake to identify how long each distribution line is as long as no tree roots or other obstructions have damaged or infiltrated the installation.

Q: Are all leach fields the same size?

JSA: No. Depending on the size of the area available to design the field, the obstacles such as buildings, trees, rock or existing water, well location and slope of the land, each field may be unique.

Q: Why does a leach field fail?

JSA: The main reason for failure of a leach field is plugging caused by a failed septic tank. Particles of non-decomposed septic material escape the septic tank outlet baffle and decrease the porous nature of the leach field earth. Over time the effluent water may seek relief by bubbling up to the surface since it no longer can be absorbed properly downward into the ground. Offensive odors and dangerous bacteria in the surface water can be identified. Solving the problem of the failed septic tank is the first way to correct this problem. Extending the leach field without addressing the septic tanks problem will only result in extending the problem which will eventually happen again. The best way find the extent of the failure is to ask a trained professional.

Q: What can I do if my leach field is always wet?

JSA: Usually this indicates that the leach field has failed and needs immediate attention. Septic bacteria is unsafe for people or pets. The cause for the failure needs to be determined. Plugged leach field lines, groundwater flooding, leaking house water, a failed septic tank, or damage done to the field by excavation or settling all contribute to the failure.

Q: What can I do if my leach field stinks?

JSA: Odors are indication of a failed leach field. The bacteria causing the odors should have been treated in the septic tank but may have escaped early into the leach field. Solving the problem in the septic tank is the first step. When the tank is corrected using aerobic treatment, the odors will diminish depending upon how long the problem was allowed to exist. Bio-solutions can often rejuvenate the leach field and avoid costly digging for repair or replacement.

Q: Can I drive over my leach field?

JSA: No. It is not recommended, but limited driving of light vehicles should not harm a properly installed leach field. Under wet conditions, however, any heavy packing of the earth over the distribution lines will have a negative impact on effectiveness. Avoid having very heavy vehicles such as those used for oil deliveries, pool water filling, cement delivery, etc., ride directly over the field.

Q: Can I build on top of the leach field?

JSA: No, this is not recommended. If there is limited property and you feel you must, a light building over a portion of a trenched leach field should not have a major influence on its operation. It is not recommended to build on a raised leach field bed since one of the functions of that type of system is evaporation.

Q: Can I plant anything over my leach field?

JSA: No. Again this is not recommended, but if you must, planting should be limited to annuals and shallow rooted decorative bushes. Larger bushes or trees may send long root systems into the distribution lines and have even been known to grow all the way back and sometimes into the septic tank!

Q: How can I extend the life of the leach field?

JSA: Regular non-mechanical aerobic treatment of your leach field is the best way to prolong its life. Find a Peace of Mind dealer-trained-septic company to provide this service. The most important thing to extend the life of the leach field is to make sure, through regular maintenance, that the septic tank is fermenting properly. Secondly, make sure that there is no flooding of the field by either underground water, surface ground water or leaking toilets, sinks, showers, etc. Your Peace of Mind trained dealer can help you find these leaks. Additionally, new bio-solutions can aerobically clean and rejuvenate the leach field extending its useful life.

Q: Is there a digless way to fix a leach field?

JSA: Yes. The good news is a bio-solution that aerobically opens up the clogged pores of the leaching area. Trained dealers in this method can save the homeowner thousands of dollars in repair or replacement costs and help you protect the environment.

Return to list of FAQs

Frequently asked questions about pumping:

Q: When do I need an emergency pumping?

JSA: Emergency pumping is needed when you hear strange noises or smell unusual odors coming from your house plumbing. Hopefully, you get the emergency pumping before a nasty backup of septic material into your home. You will still need the emergency pumping but then you also have the unpleasant job and cost of cleaning up a mess that could have been avoided.

Q: How often should a working septic tank be pumped?

JSA: Honestly, if you were absolutely sure it was fermenting properly and there were no non-biodegradable pollutants in it, it should never have to be pumped. The reality, however, is that often the septic tank is used more like a trash can rather than a properly controlled chemistry project. So you need to do service inspections and regular pumping to prolong the life of your septic leaching system. Trained professionals of the Peace of Mind school offer you the best service for your system. The pumping will remove all of the non-degradable pollutants on the top and bottom of the tank as well as the heavy sludge from the bottom and leave enough of the good-bacterially rich liquid to continue to break down future incoming material. The trained pumping professional will produce a written report on the performance and health of your septic tank and provide you with information on the dos and don�ts to help you keep it working properly. Only a trained professional can correctly assess your usage and present condition of your system to tell you how often you should pump the tank. At a minimum your septic tank should be pumped every two to three years OR when the total depth of sludge and scum exceeds one third of the depth of the tank. Pumping regularly is cost effective because it extends the life of your leach field which would be a major expense to repair or replace.

Q: Do they need to dig up my lawn to pump?

JSA: Not necessarily. If you already have access to at least the inlet and outlet lids of your septic tank, digging up your lawn will not be necessary. If there is no access to the lid of the septic tank, some digging may be necessary to expose the ports so that the hose can be inserted to remove the septic material. At this time it would be wise to install risers so that digging would not be necessary the next time pumping is required. Pumping cannot and should not be done through the pipe outlet in your basement.

Q: Do they pump everything out of the tank?

JSA: No. The best pumping scenario would be to take out all of the sludge from the bottom and most of the scum and floating material from the top. It is best to leave some of the good liquid in the tank so that the active bacteria will immediately begin to work for you.

Q: Why do they leave some liquid in the tank?

JSA: This liquid contains all of the good bacteria that is necessary to break down the solids in the wastewater.

Q: Why do they need to see the baffles when they pump?

JSA: The most important inspection that must be done when a pumping is to check the baffles to make sure that they are not damaged or clogged. The outlet baffle that allows the hopefully clear effluent water to flow to your leach field is by far the most important. This baffle must be intact, structurally solid and free from any debris so that it holds back any solids that might flow into the leach field prior to proper breakdown.

Q: Does anything need to be added after pumping?

JSA: If enough liquid with good active bacteria is left in the tank, then no additional material must be added. If the tank is not healthy or if all of the material was removed for some reason, (such as chemical abuse), then a starter package may be needed to help the septic tank properly break down new waste material.

Q: How much does a pumping cost?

JSA: The cost of pumping varies depending on a number of factors. The size of the tank and the number of gallons of material removed affects the cost. The difficulty to uncover a tank if there are no access ports available. The cost per gallon charged by the receiving facility in your area for the pumping company to dispose of your material.

Q: Does the truck have to run over my lawn?

JSA: No. Usually the pump truck sits out in the driveway or street and a hose is used to vacuum out the septic tank. Most trucks, however, cannot pump more than 100 feet under normal flat conditions.

Return to list of FAQs

Frequently asked questions about repairs:

Q: Can a septic system be repaired?

JSA: Yes. Depending upon the problem, many times a repair is possible. Some examples of a repair would be: to fix a crushed or collapsed pipe, to reset a poorly installed or settled septic tank for proper flow, to replace a broken baffle that has allowed solids into the leach field, replace a cracked or collapsed septic tank lid, etc.

Q: Will a septic system repair solve my septic problems?

JSA: Yes and No. Yes, the repair will address an immediate problem that must be taken care of, but No, the repair may not solve the larger septic problems that may have been present before the specific problem that needed repair. It also would not necessarily reverse any problems that were caused because of the specific problem. Every situation is unique and the trained septic dealer will help the homeowner solve all of the septic problems.

Return to list of FAQs

Frequently asked questions about upgrades:

Q: Can my present septic system be upgraded rather than totally replaced?

JSA: Yes. In most cases, the present system can be very useful even if it is a state of failure. Portions of the system may still have a role to play in an upgraded system.

Q: If I have added on to my present house, will I need an upgrade?

JSA: Most likely. If your addition includes more plumbing fixtures and your family size is increasing, it is to your advantage to upgrade your present system to meet these new demands. A larger system is always preferred over an undersized one.

Q: Is a septic upgrade always just adding a new tank?

JSA: No. The addition of a larger or newer septic tank is a great improvement for any system, however, the upgrade you may need might include additional feet of leach area to accommodate the larger flow.

Q:Other than adding a new or larger tank, are there other types of upgrades?

JSA: Yes. One such upgrade might be to install dry wells to accommodate all of the non-human wastewater such as laundry, slop sinks, dishwashers, water treatment backwash, etc. This will extend the present septic tank’s life and greatly benefit the life of the leach field.

Q: Are there simple upgrades that would help prevent the digging up of my lawn every time I needed a pumping?

JSA: Yes. One of the best upgrades is to have risers put on the access ports of the septic tank. This will allow proper inspection by the septic dealer, easy cleanout access for regularly scheduled pumpings, an access point to introduce bio-solutions to extend the life of your leach field, and most of all avoid any future digging to accomplish these things.

Return to list of FAQs

Frequently asked questions about the science of septic

Q: What is the science of septic

JSA: Think of your septic tank as a science experiment that is always working. The goal of the experiment is to process human waste and other household pollutants into environmentally safe byproducts and water. As in all science experiments, there are a number of factors that either help or hinder the outcome. By understanding these factors, the homeowner can work with a septic dealer to keep the experiment running perfectly.

Q: What are some of the factors of the science of septic

JSA: Some of the basic things needed for the experiment to keep working at optimum efficiency is to have the good bacteria necessary to breakdown the waste components. These good bacteria need the proper environment in order to work efficiently. The temperature and pH of the tank is the most important. Time is also a factor since time is required for the bacteria to do its job. If there is a leaky toilet for example, the excess water pushes material out of the septic tank before it has had time to fully break down and begins the demise of the leach field.

Any harmful materials other than human waste can have a negative effect on the good bacteria. Sometimes too much soap at one time, cleaning materials, or other chemicals that have been dumped down drains in the home can slow or even kill all of the good bacteria. Not only do these harmful compounds go out into the environment but the poorly broken down human waste also enters into the leach field.

Q: Are there things that can be added to the septic tank to help the good bacteria.

JSA: Yes. There are new bio-solutions available to trained dealers that can not only assist in maintaining a positive environment for the good bacteria to work, but can add aerobic bacteria to do a better job for your system and for the environment.

Q: What can aerobic bacteria do that the old fashioned type can’t do?

JSA: The aerobic bacteria along with special enzymes create a highly oxygenated environment that breaks down septic wastes much better than the natural non aerobic bacteria that is in the traditional septic tank. A traditional septic tank, when working well, breaks down between 60-65% of the solid waste. The new bio-solution aerobic bacteria can break down over 90%. This means that the effluent leaving the septic tank and entering the environment is much better with the new science of septic. This is a major breakthrough for the septic industry and will greatly help the ever more crowded areas of housing.

Return to list of FAQs

Frequently asked questions about the digless solution:

Q: What is the digless solution?

JSA: The digless solution is when the septic system is treated with bio-solution bacteria to avoid the costly and messy digging up of the leach field for repair or replacement. This is a major breakthrough in the industry! Usually a backhoe is used to dig large trenches to replace a failed septic leach field. It often disturbs the lawn and landscape plantings of a large area of the homeowners property. The digless solution eliminates this mess and the high labor cost of leach field installation. The digless solution can only be used when the septic tank is working properly. If repairs need to be done to correct a tank problem, there may be some digging necessary to either repair the tank and lines leading to the leach field, or to replace a damaged or undersized tank, however, the area of disturbance is much smaller. If the tank is of proper size and in good working condition, there may be no digging at all!

Q: How does the digless solution repair the leach field?

JSA: The main reason for a leach field failure is that the septic tank has allowed over a long period of time undigested solid waste to enter the field. This material forms a slimy coating in the leach lines and drainage area around the lines plugging up the pores of the material preventing proper absorption. In failure, the contaminated septic effluent either backups or breaks through the surface causing a dangerous environmental problem. The digless solution adds biologic bacteria to digest the slimy coating in the leach lines as well as the plugged material in the drainage field. This rejuvenates the leach field and once again allows it to work properly.

Q: How can you tell if the digless solution works?

JSA: There are a number of ways to monitor the improvement of the leach field. As the field once again begins to allow the effluent water to correctly be absorbed into the ground there will not be a backup of fluids which can be seen at the junction box and septic tank access ports. The flooded leach lines will dissipate the effluent so that they will no longer be filled with liquid which can be seen by inspecting the access port at the junction box. Often nasty wet areas of the lawn, where dangerous bacteria-laden septic effluent had been bubbling up through the ground, will disappear. Even if there are naturally wet areas of the property, a trained septic maintenance dealer can determine that the water is surface water rather than septic water. A number of tests can be used to determine this improvement.

Return to list of FAQs

Frequently asked questions about tests used to check the operation of a septic system.

Q: What types of tests are used to check if the septic system is working properly?

JSA: There are three tests used in the industry and each has its advantages and problems. There is (1) a dye test, (2) a probe test, and (3) flooding test. A reputable septic dealer may use some or all of the tests depending on the specific situation. In some cases septic problems are obvious and a test is not needed, however, sometimes the test is a great tool to help find and solve problems that may not be immediately obvious.

Q:What is the dye test?

JSA: The dye test is used to trace the water flow through the entire septic system. It usually starts in the home and then is monitored as it moves through the septic tank and out into the leach field. If the dye is observed at the surface or in catch basins or on a neighbors lands, etc., it would identify that the leach field is in failure. The problem with the test is that if not done properly and with enough water and time, an inspector might think the septic system is fine when in reality it is not. Make sure a reputable dealer does the dye test to insure its accuracy.

Q:What is the probe test?

JSA: The probe test also has its advantages and disadvantages and must be done by a trained septic dealer to know the difference. The probe test involves an inspection of the system at different locations, such as the access ports on the septic tank and junction box leading to the leach field lines to determine hydraulic distress (flooding of the tank or leach field). The problem with this test is that it is a one-day snapshot of the septic system. If the home has been vacant for a period of time while the family was on vacation or the house was being prepared for sale, the test would be useless since the liquid would have absorbed over that time. The test is much more appropriate if the house is under the normal full-load of use by the family.

Q: What is the flooding test?

JSA: The flooding test is when an inspector discharges a vast amount of water into the system to determine if it can handle the flow. It is assumed that if it does the system is working properly. By opening all the water sources in the house at once, the inspector can often add 500-1000 gallons of water into the system. This is a very dangerous test because it may do damage even to a properly working system. By flooding the septic tank, undigested solid waste material will be pushed out into the leach field. This will further contribute to problems the leach field may already have. In addition, it will dilute the good bacteria in the septic tank rendering it useless to breakdown solids for a period of time. This test has limited use and must be done by a trained inspector only when other methods of determining problems are exhausted.

Return to list of FAQs

Frequently asked questions about the aerobic advantage:

Q: What is the aerobic advantage?

JSA: Basically the aerobic method of treating household wastewater is that it breaks down a higher percentage of solids before discharge into the leach field or environment. A second advantage is that it breaks down the waste much faster than the traditional septic system.

Q: What does aerobic mean?

JSA: There are two types of bacteria. One is anerobic which is the type found in a traditional septic tank. The bacteria breaks down the solid waste in this closed environment of the tank without oxygen. The second type of bacteria is aerobic which uses oxygen to break down the solid waste. The aerobic septic system introduces oxygen either in a mechanical way with a pump and agitator which requires electricity, or the more preferred and less expensive way through the introduction of bio-solutions where oxygen-generating bacteria are used.

Q: Are there other advantages to an aerobic system?

JSA: Yes. In many cases, the aerobic system can be used to repair a failed traditional septic system. This highly oxygenated effluent flows into the failed or stressed leach field cleaning as it goes. Over time the field may return to its original fully-functioning state eliminating the high cost of digging up an entire property to replace the leach field.

Q: Are there any other important advantages of aerobic systems?

JSA: Yes. Aerobic systems can often be used in areas that are environmentally sensitive and where traditional septic systems would not be allowed or should not be used. Since the effluent released into the environment is so much better than that of traditional septic systems, the aerobic system can be used near lakes, streams, rivers, and watershed areas. Summer home conversions into year-round housing on lakes, for example, have caused disastrous environmental problems for the water as more and more of the traditional septic systems fail or leach in them. Aerobic systems stop this pollution and provide lake associations with a viable way to use their homes and enjoy the beautiful natural environment that drew them to the area in the first place.

Return to list of FAQs

Frequently asked questions about environmental issues:

Q: What environmental issues are most important regarding septic systems?

JSA: As population increases in any area, the concern of where, how much, and of what quality septic effluent of these homes has on the environment increases. The simple fact is that all of the septic waste water winds up in the environment. If we are lucky, it is safe and stays where we want it. As it either evaporates or seeps into the earth, we expect it to do no harm to the land, waters of the land and the people who live near.

Q: Are there other important environmental concerns?

JSA: Yes. Drinking water and the protection of the watershed that supplies our drinking water is constantly be compromised. Some of these factors are the population growth and the demands put on the natural resource, the pollutants that get into the water supply from this growth, periodic industrial spill accidents that further damage or make the water supply unfit for human use, and the increase in the number of failed or stressed septic systems.

Return to list of FAQs

Frequently asked questions about code violations:

Q: What is a code violation?

JSA: Each Town or Municipality has codes for everything to protect the public. The ones specific to wastewater management may be the same as county or state codes. The Board of Health of each county can supply you with al of the codes.

Q: What would be a likely septic code violation?

JSA: Usually any failure of the septic system would present an immediate health danger to the homeowner and most likely to the neighbors if untreated septic material or effluent were on the surface where children or pets could come in contact with it.

Q: Any other types of code violations?

JSA: Yes. When a septic system is in stress or failure, the untreated effluent may not be absorbed in the leach field as was intended. It may seep through ground layers and travel across property lines or out to storm drains or streams, rivers, or lakes. This of course is a code violation and can do major harm to others as well as to the environment.

Return to list of FAQs

Miscellaneous questions:

Q: How should I size my tank?

JSA: If you are building a new home or expanding or improving an older home, you should contact a reputable septic dealer to help you with sizing, choice of septic tank material, placement and leach field size. You will be asked to estimate the maximum number of regular household members for water usage along with all the other considerations of liquid flow into the system.

Q: Do medicines I flush affect my septic tank?

JSA: Yes. Some medicines may have a harmful effect on the system as well as the environment. Medicines should not be disposed of through the septic system.

Q: Does a softener connected to the system hurt it in any way?

JSA: Yes. A softener discharge is brine and can harm the good bacteria you have working in your system. The softener also dumps large volumes of water at one time which tends to flood the system. The softener discharge should be diverted into another drainage area.

Return to list of FAQs